One Zambia

It is Independence Day.  Zambians are celebrating 54 years of freedom. There is pride but also a knawing sense of unease.  Where are we now?  They have not been years of rapid advance. More like the lumbering pace of an unwieldy creature of the wild. Less like the stride of an impala. More like the waddle of a hippo. 

There has been progress – in education and health and those intangible things; confidence and identity. Yet there is also a feeling of helplessness.  People do not believe the government is there for them but for itself and its close associates. The people it was elected to serve do not feel they are served,

This is a diagnosis not only of Zambia.  It is a default position in much of the continent.  People have no sense of their power.  In other countries leaders, who do not listen to the people who chose them, are dismissed by the voters.

Yes, it takes time to develop civic leverage among voters. But 54 years?  What is that essential ingredient that fires up a government to deliver justice to its people? What is it that shifts a people from passivity to engagement?

Recently I walked to the local shopping mall. They are adding a filling station and the builders’ barrier encroach on a busy road.  A walker has to navigate between the rush of cars and the barrier.  In another country the builders would be brought to court.  But we shrug our shoulders and laugh at the hazards of walking in Lusaka.  We continue to “improve” our roads for vehicles and drainage. But the humble walker continues to negotiate the thin line between car and ditch.

There is a story in Mark’s gospel about a blind man sitting by the side of the road. He hears commotion and is curious. He is told to keep quiet but he refuses. “He shouts all the louder.” And he is heard.  Can we learn from him?

28 October 2018                     Sunday 30 B

Jeremiah 31:7-9                       Hebrews 5:1-6               Mark 10:46-52

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